ABU DHABI: England captain Alastair Cook was proud while Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq was relieved after the first Test ended in a dramatic draw with England falling just 25 short of victory on Saturday.
A result looked highly unlikely when England finished their first innings on the fifth and final morning but leg-spinner Adil Rashid then took 5-64 as Pakistan were dismissed for a paltry 173.
That gave Cook´s men a 99-run target in a maximum of 19 overs but when the umpires called off play eight overs early due to bad light England were marooned on 74-4.
The result left the three-match series level with the second Test starting in Dubai from October 22.
England´s remarkable change of fortune, after Pakistan had piled up a mammoth 523-8 declared in the first innings, left Cook the happier of the two captains.
“I am proud of my boys,” said Cook, who was declared man-of-the-match for his epic 263 in England´s 598-9 declared which gave them a lead of 75 runs.
“More (proud) for the fact when you concede 520-plus and then you are the side who are pretty much going to win the game and with an inexperienced side.”
Cook said Pakistan´s collapse raised hopes of an unlikely win.
“It´s a really strange feeling because there´s one of disappointment in the dressing room which is very strange because everyone would have taken the result at tea time,” said Cook of the interval when Pakistan were apparently safe at 102-3.
But Pakistan lost seven wickets in the space of 71 runs, the last five off just 14.
Cook hoped his team keeps up the same fight in the next two Tests.
“Over the next 10 days of Test cricket we need to show the same resilience,” said Cook, part of the England team routed 3-0 by Pakistan in the UAE in 2012.
Cook praised Rashid, who went for 163 runs in his wicket-less 34 overs in the first innings — the worst analysis for a bowler on debut.
“We know how important a leg-spinner can be,” said Cook of Rashid. “He can change games very quickly and the criticism he got was unfair, he handled the pressure well.”
Cook attributed his good form in tough Asian conditions to patience.
“I don´t quite know why I´ve got such a good subcontinent record,” said Cook who now has eight hundreds in Asia.
“It´s pretty much a game of patience out here a lot of the time and playing to your strengths.”
Pakistan skipper Misbah, on the other hand, said he was relieved that Pakistan were not trailing in the series.
“I think the big advantage is that we are not 1-0 down,” said Misbah. “I think in Test cricket pressure lets everything happen and we caused that pressure with some wrong shots.”
“If you commit mistakes then such situations arise especially Younis (Khan) and I played wrong shots at the wrong time,” said Misbah who fell to a rash shot off spinner Moeen Ali after scoring 51. Younis was caught off a poor shot of Rashid for 45.
“England are a good team and the pitch also helped them because there was not much turn and bounce. But credit to them,” said Misbah who criticised the pitch.
“Even a kid knows what kind of pitch you need when you are playing against England,” said Misbah of the flat Sheikh Zayed Stadium pitch where only 16 wickets fell on the first four days and 15 on the last.
“You need a spin track. If the pitch was not prepared like that then I am as surprised as you are,” said Misbah, who was also critical of no cover in his spin after key leg-spinner Yasir Shah was declared unfit before the match.
“I think you should ask this question to the selectors or somebody back home,” said a critical Pakistan captain.